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Fri Nov 23, 2012, 11:55 PM

Naiveté of Tavis Smiley & Cornel West’s Attacks On Obama A Danger To Poor & Blacks

Originally Poster HERE.


Tavis Smiley and Cornel West have been running around the country for some time disparaging the president on his progressive values and on his specific action to attack poverty in general and on problems in the black community specifically. While there is much merit to what they say, generally their failure to understand the dynamics involved in navigating the presidency, especially the presidency of the first black president displays either an elevated level of naiveté, or a self-serving interest that presents a danger to both the poor and to African Americans. The fact that they were doing this during the heart of the election season likely makes the latter more consistent with their actions. If this is the case then they are doing what many leaders and false prophets have done, make money on the backs of the disenfranchised under the pretense of caring. One must ask how much of the proceeds from their books on these issues went to support projects to effectively help the poor.

Tavis Smiley was never an ardent supporter of President Obama. That of course is his right. His antagonism of the president during the 2008 Democratic Primaries hit a crescendo when the president did not attend Smiley’s “State Of The Black Union” forum in New Orleans even as Hillary Clinton did. In a further display of uncalled for arrogance, he rejected then Senator Obama’s request to have Michelle Obama represent him at the forum. Further he castigated Senator Obama for distancing himself from Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and for not attending African American events Smiley deemed he should attend. The height of this man’s arrogance, lack of scope, and self-serving hyperbole makes him an unfit spokesman for the cause of the poor and disenfranchised. That Dr. Cornel West has allowed himself to be Tavis Smiley’s sidekick speaks poorly of his judgment.

I received an email from a dear friend today that made me aware of an interview given to Smiley and West on Democracy Now with Amy Goodman & Juan González. In that interview Cornel West referred to the president as “a Rockefeller Republican in blackface”. He also implied that Al Sharpton, Melissa Harris-Perry, and Michael Dyson, three MSNBC personalities generally supportive of the President are on the take. Had such statements being made by others in the media, both Smiley and West would be up in arms making accusations of racism. They continued to bash the president on his progressive negotiating skills and his lack of doing anything for the poor. What their argument lacked was specifics of what they believe the executive could really do to correct many of the ills in the black community specifically and for the poor generally.

Here is the reality. America was not ready for a black president in 2008 or 2012. President Obama defied many realities with his political skills and a very competent campaign to win. He was aided by Bush fatigue, a depressed economy, and a lousy candidate in John McCain in 2008. In 2012 he was aided by a Plutocrat he made unelectable early in the campaign because to a sufficiently large percentage of prejudiced Americans, a black president they despise is better than the white president that will destroy their middle class life. One can only guess that Kansas is waking up. The President made himself the least fearful black man in the United States. He ensured that no events that he attended could possibly be used to insight white racial fears. He ensured that America was well aware of his white mother and that he was partially raised by his white grandparents.

Most of the black establishment because of history understood that progress requires compromise. Most understand that the president firstly is the president of all America. Doing a great job for all America ensures a likewise good result for the poor and minority America. More importantly they realize that to be reelected the President must make himself re-electable to those who vote.

I purchased two of Tavis Smiley’s two books,” The Covenant with Black America” in 2006 and “The Covenant In Action” in 2007. They were good books that described many of the problems in black America and some solutions mostly in an abstract form. The problem I have with Tavis Smiley, Dr. Cornel West, and forums like the “The State Of The Black Union” is that they are all talk and no action. Having conferences with Harvard, Princeton, Ivy League, and other black intellectuals for all practical purposes are a waste of time. Many of these people seem to revel in listening to themselves and rarely participate in real grassroots movements that actually could effect change. While I give deference to Dr. Cornel West for participating in Occupy Wall Street, one rarely find these so called intellectuals physically being a part of the solution.

Tavis Smiley and Dr. Cornel West will do much better by going into the community, rolling up their sleeves, and going door to door, and talk to the disenfranchised. Encourage them to vote and humbly teach them why their votes matter. Let them know that unless they vote, the President does not have a sufficient mandate to effect policies most beneficial to them. Teach those that require it, the need for personal responsibility and education. Build up their spirits by showing they matter.

Being critical of the President for navigating a Washington where he has at best partial control is but a cop out from the duty of those who should be the community organizers that help provide the president a mandate. Only then can he be held fully accountable.

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Arrow 55 replies Author Time Post
Reply Naiveté of Tavis Smiley & Cornel West’s Attacks On Obama A Danger To Poor & Blacks (Original post)
egbertowillies Nov 2012 OP
underthematrix Nov 2012 #1
Cha Nov 2012 #6
genna Nov 2012 #15
Cha Nov 2012 #47
Whisp Nov 2012 #11
genna Nov 2012 #16
Whisp Nov 2012 #18
genna Nov 2012 #50
genna Nov 2012 #14
NavyMom Nov 2012 #36
Whisp Nov 2012 #37
satxdem Nov 2012 #40
brush Nov 2012 #34
Nedsdag Nov 2012 #48
elleng Nov 2012 #2
genna Nov 2012 #17
elleng Nov 2012 #39
CheapShotArtist Nov 2012 #3
babylonsister Nov 2012 #5
LineLineReply I
satxdem Nov 2012 #8
genna Nov 2012 #19
satxdem Nov 2012 #21
demhottie Nov 2012 #38
satxdem Nov 2012 #22
genna Nov 2012 #20
LTR Nov 2012 #4
Third Doctor Nov 2012 #7
satxdem Nov 2012 #9
lunatica Nov 2012 #25
satxdem Nov 2012 #26
lunatica Nov 2012 #28
satxdem Nov 2012 #30
satxdem Nov 2012 #31
lunatica Nov 2012 #32
BlueCaliDem Nov 2012 #35
madrchsod Nov 2012 #10
union_maid Nov 2012 #12
genna Nov 2012 #13
satxdem Nov 2012 #29
Tutonic Nov 2012 #23
lunatica Nov 2012 #24
Warren Stupidity Nov 2012 #27
MjolnirTime Nov 2012 #33
frazzled Nov 2012 #41
satxdem Nov 2012 #44
MuttLikeMe Nov 2012 #49
Myrina Nov 2012 #55
phleshdef Nov 2012 #42
FrenchieCat Nov 2012 #43
JustAnotherGen Nov 2012 #51
Ivywoods55 Nov 2012 #45
One of the 99 Nov 2012 #46
BeyondGeography Nov 2012 #52
ToxMarz Nov 2012 #53
truebrit71 Nov 2012 #54

Response to egbertowillies (Original post)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 11:57 PM

1. i hate Tavis Smiley and Cornel West with 2 passions.

As an AA, they are a disgrace. They as biracial peeps should know what PBO is up against.

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Response to underthematrix (Reply #1)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 01:16 AM

6. I do too.. only I'm not AA..

but, I know a lot of AAs online who actually think they're dispicable.

Tavis and West are superb whiners who have learned nothing about President Obama. Tavis got pissed about Obama not attending his State of the Black Union.. the story I remember is..they offered to send Michelle.. as Senator Obama was busy trying to win Texas!

Here's another indepth article on the Smiley and West show..


"Cornel West And Tavis Smiley Have Never Supported President Obama!"

So as you can see, these two gentlemen have been undermining President Obama since before he was even elected. And then Cornel had the gall to complain about candidate Obama not returning his calls or making sure he had tickets to the inauguration. The “audacity” he showed by expecting tickets to the party after spending so much time attacking him personally is simply amazing


http://extremeliberal.wordpress.com/2011/09/20/cornel-west-and-tavis-smiley-have-never-supported-president-obama/

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Response to Cha (Reply #6)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 07:47 AM

15. Just when you think group think can't sink any lower it does

Google is this writer's tool.

He didn't try to at least walk through Obama's advocates in 2008 primary and general election.

Cornel West was an able advocate in 2007-2008. He was for Obama when the rest of us couldn't pronounce his name.

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Response to genna (Reply #15)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 05:40 PM

47. I could always pronounce his name..it's not that hard.

Read the article..no one is sinking low except Cornel West.

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Response to underthematrix (Reply #1)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 07:02 AM

11. me too. They are using ridiculous language to get themselves in the spotlight.

 

ugly souled selfish twits - I have no use for either of them if they are so self centered.

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Response to Whisp (Reply #11)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 07:59 AM

16. Do Bob Herbert and Paul Tough also have a twisted heart

Poverty is something useful Democrats care about which has motivated me in the past. I like West and Smiley for concentrating on it. I liked it better when Dr. Michael Eric Dyson and Rev. Al Sharpton worked side by side with them, but to each her/his own.

The article waits to the 13th or 14th paragraph to start tying Obama to Chicago's Roseland neighborhood and his first term.

When Obama ran for president the first time, urban poverty was a major policy focus for his campaign. Senator Obama gave speeches on the issue, his campaign Web site had a dedicated poverty section with a variety of policy proposals, and in his platform, he committed his administration to “eradicating poverty,” pledging that “working together, we can cut poverty in half within 10 years.” But the official poverty rate has continued to rise under Obama. In May, Bob Herbert, the former New York Times Op-Ed columnist, castigated the president in the online magazine The Grio for his failure to address publicly the “catastrophe” of children growing up in urban poverty. “Barack Obama can barely bring himself to say the word ‘poor,’ ” Herbert wrote.

The idea that Obama hasn’t done much for poor Americans is simply not true; by some measures, he has done more than any other recent president. But Herbert is right that Obama has stopped talking publicly about the subject. Obama hasn’t made a single speech devoted to poverty as president, and if you visit barackobama.com these days, you would be hard-pressed to find any reference to the subject whatsoever. As a result, he is missing — so far, at least — an important opportunity to change and elevate the national conversation on poverty. What we know about poverty, and specifically about its effect on children, has shifted markedly in the last few decades.


link:http://thegrio.com/2012/05/21/obama-romney-both-shy-away-from-the-plight-of-poor-kids/|

Passion matters most when tied to ugly souled selfish twisted facts.

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Response to genna (Reply #16)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 08:11 AM

18. I've heard him say repeatedly

 

that keeping the middle class and people being able to move up to the middle class, is one of his top priorities. To me, this definitely speaks towards the poor.

Also include his work on the importance of education and keeping costs down for students.

Equal opportunity for all is another message, repeated.


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Response to Whisp (Reply #18)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 09:12 AM

50. A balanced critique of Obama has to include what he hasn't done

I am not saying the guy I voted for ain't shit. I'm saying there are large swaths of ground he or his advisers failed to actually address in the first term.

If someone isn't crying out about those areas, then Obama will overlook them.

Gays: serving openly in the military and continuing to defend The Defense Against Marriage Act.

While the LGBT community was donating, Obama did not hear their complaints. All of sudden he retook his prior to 2008 opinion on gays and he was a hero again.

Latinos: deported more Hispanic undocumented workers than any other administration previous to his and was not pursuing the Dream Act in Congress.

Before the election season, Obama pointed to conservatives saying there is nothing that can be done here. Latino organizers started applying pressure as it relates to their issues beyond just immigration, all of sudden Obama uses the executive power to say no more enforcement on the Dream children immigrants and makes a way for those children brought up in the US to get closer to a legalized status.



It probably isn't best to start name calling, but West has a lifetime of scholarship where he names names and finger points. It is a style of critique that is more offputting than the criticism itself. Poor people matter. I more interested in seeing Obama do some policy things instead of speaking around it.

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Response to underthematrix (Reply #1)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 07:44 AM

14. If by disgrace, you mean PBO isn't subject to any criticism by AAs at all.

Sure, AAs should stop talking outloud if it is going to embarrass the president.

We should wait for 8 years before we talk openly about our condition as a whole.

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Response to genna (Reply #14)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 11:55 AM

36. That is not what she/he said, these two yahoos are

NOT interested in HELPING the poor only themselves. Otis & Harry (my father's name for them) are out to make THEMSELVES relevant and to do this they are out like Fox noise because they think it will get them noticed.

You say we should wait 8 years to talk openly about our condition as a whole that is ludicrous. No one says you cannot criticize when he is wrong but expecting him to work ONLY for AA is demeaning and disrespectful to the President because this shows they have no idea of the man himself.

PBO has increased the Pell grant, provided billions, that's right, billions directly to HBC and they are now included with other institutions to consistently receive federal funds. This is the BEST way to improve the AA community, by education and lowering the cost so many others can attend.

When my father spoke with Tavis in NOLA he asked him his ideas, what the President can do or what the community as a whole can do for the AA in general. Tavis put the ENTIRE burden on the President, at no time did he acknowledge he too can assist the AA community and my father told him MLK did not do it alone so how or WHY does he assume it is only PBO job?

I had my dad ask them during your "poverty tour" how many people did you help? Did you educate them on how or where to obtain resources to improve their lives? While riding on this big bus right before school how many packs of school supplies did they pass out? How many school uniforms per child was donated to these in poverty? How many did you purchase food for or pay a outstanding bill?

Like I told Tavis, you are full of sh!t, you have NO interest in the poor. The only person you are interested in improving the financial path of is YOURSELF. While you are in these communities why not do like the President did and ORGANIZE them to fight for better lives, or show them there are programs available to them or heck even tell them sitting will not improve their place in life coming together as a community will.

As a AA Tavis & Cornel is doing more in these communities to tear them apart not bring them closer to improve not only their lives but their community. When these two began doing WORK instead of talking then maybe they will have some cred right now they remind me of my small nephews with their "Look at me, Look at me" tour.

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Response to NavyMom (Reply #36)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 12:11 PM

37. ++++

 

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Response to NavyMom (Reply #36)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 12:37 PM

40. thank you!

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Response to underthematrix (Reply #1)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 11:15 AM

34. Green eyed monster

To me it seems these two, who were both very prominent in the black community pre-2007, were blindsided by this phenom from Chicago who came from seemingly out of know where to usurp their rightful position atop the "black leader" hierarchy. IMHO I think they had (at lease Smiley) designs on political office and are envious that they were beaten to the punch by someone who didn't take the traditional "black leader" route to run for office.

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Response to brush (Reply #34)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 06:33 PM

48. Exactly!

T(r)avis, pre-Obama, was look upon as one of the young leaders of African Americans. He had best selling books and was lauded by many in the mainstream media. That all changed when Obama came upon the national scene in 2004. After that, he was never the same again.

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Response to egbertowillies (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 12:04 AM

2. Thanks. Not AA, but strongly dislike cornell west for his arrogance and self-centered attitudes.

Not aware of Smiley's missteps as described above; do appreciate some of his interviews.

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Response to elleng (Reply #2)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 08:03 AM

17. Poverty definitely is cause for some arrogance and self centeredness

at least that is what their work screams to me.

As U.S. Inequality Widens, Scholar Cornel West and Broadcaster Tavis Smiley Launch Poverty Tour 2.0


I'm sure Democracy Now doesn't do their homework afterall.

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Response to genna (Reply #17)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 12:33 PM

39. I think Democracy Now does a pretty good job, homework-wise,

and I see NO reason why poverty is 'cause' for arrogance and self-centeredness. Maybe cause for THANKS, among those of us not victimized by poverty.

I appreciate aspects of their 'Poverty Tour,' but NOT west's general attitudes, and certainly not his and their incessant criticism of President Obama.

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Response to egbertowillies (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 12:42 AM

3. They probably have good intentions,

but much of their criticisms about Obama and other prominent AAs come off as unreasonable. I just think they expect too much from a president who is at the mercy of an obstructive Congress.

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Response to CheapShotArtist (Reply #3)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 12:57 AM

5. Thank you! I agree! nt

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Response to CheapShotArtist (Reply #3)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 03:27 AM

8. I

Would say they had good intentions except for the fact that they never talk policy, they seem to always target Obama racially. He isn't black enough, he's afraid of free black man, Obama only hangs around Jews. These are things Cornell has said, I can't take that seriously.

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Response to satxdem (Reply #8)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 08:17 AM

19. If you were referencing the Final Call, I'd believe you.

Since instead you are referring to West or Smiley, I know you are barking up the wrong tree in right wing paranoia. Did you just throw in the Jews part to really stir shit up around here?

“I doubt very highly, that Barack Obama is concerned with any Africans in this country who do not represent the One Percent. One of the first moves that he made as president was when (Henry Louis) Skip Gates had the problem with the White police officer in Boston and was arrested for breaking into his own home, Barack Obama had a beer summit. He took the officer and Skip Gates and along with Vice President (Joe) Biden and had a beer summit,” observed Kalonji Changa, founder of the Atlanta-based Feed The People Movement and author of “How to Build a Peoples Army.”

“Not one time has our first Black president publicly uttered the name of Troy Davis. He did make mention of the Trayvon Martin case, but that was in passing. We feel that Barack Obama is as good for Black people in America as Ronald Reagan was,” said the outspoken activist. Troy Davis was a Black inmate executed despite concerns about his innocence and Trayvon Martin was a Black teen shot to death by a watch captain in Sanford, Fla.

A September Census report revealed harsh facts about Black conditions today: Blacks are 33 percent of the nation’s low income population and 15 percent (roughly 10 million people) of the nation’s unemployed. Black joblessness is nearly seven percentage points higher than the national average of 8.3. Blacks are one-third of America’s poor and Black children under age five represent 43 percent of nation’s impoverished children. A little over one million Black children live in poverty, with nearly one in four classified as “extremely poor.”


link:http://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/National_News_2/article_9227.shtml|

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Response to genna (Reply #19)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 08:51 AM

21. what are you talking about?

No I didn't throw that in to stir things up. He(Cornell West) actually said those things about the president. You can throw all those census numbers to me if you want, I have been black for a while now, my whole family is even black. Kinda know those things first hand. What we in the black community also know is our unemployment has always been double the national rate. See, statistics show that black people get most of our jobs working for the government so if the government is bleeding jobs clearly we will have high unemployment. You can't force private companies to higher us, so we depend on government jobs. We know we need pell grants and education funding, because the only way to truly get out of poverty is through higher learning. We need healthcare. We need job training. We aren't some alien species that need some Barack Obama Black Agenda Bill. I Don't need him to target an agenda for my family, just need the basics that every one else would need. Try to calm down with the attacks, you don't know me. Never gave a tv rating or article view to right wing paranoia.

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Response to satxdem (Reply #21)


Response to genna (Reply #19)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 08:55 AM

22. http://www.thenation.com/blog/160725/cornel-west-v-barack-obama

ation.”This comment is utter hilarity coming from Cornel West who has spent the bulk of his adulthood living in those deeply rooted, culturally rich, historically important black communities of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Princeton, New Jersey. And it is hard to see his claim that Obama is “most comfortable with upper middle-class white and Jewish men who consider themselves very smart, very savvy and very effective in getting what they” as anything other than a classic projection of his own comfortably ensconced life at Harvard and Princeton Universities. Harvard and Princeton are not places that are particularly noted for their liberating history for black men.

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Response to CheapShotArtist (Reply #3)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 08:28 AM

20. I disagree. When you read egber's article, there is plenty to disagree with him on

Here is the reality. America was not ready for a black president in 2008 or 2012. President Obama defied many realities with his political skills and a very competent campaign to win. He was aided by Bush fatigue, a depressed economy, and a lousy candidate in John McCain in 2008. In 2012 he was aided by a Plutocrat he made unelectable early in the campaign because to a sufficiently large percentage of prejudiced Americans, a black president they despise is better than the white president that will destroy their middle class life. One can only guess that Kansas is waking up. The President made himself the least fearful black man in the United States. He ensured that no events that he attended could possibly be used to insight white racial fears. He ensured that America was well aware of his white mother and that he was partially raised by his white grandparents.


I think America has shown itself prepared to take a new direction. Everyone isn't interested, but change doesn't come easy either.

If the writer can see talent and skill along with bad Republican opponents, is it possible his opinion on Tavis Smiley and Cornell West is as simple as his arguments portend?

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Response to egbertowillies (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 12:55 AM

4. Two of the biggest narcissists on the planet

When they're both together, they must suck all the air out of the room.

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Response to egbertowillies (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 01:26 AM

7. There was always something about West

that rubbed me the wrong way but I thought Smiley had a bit more foresight into politics. I guess I was wrong.

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Response to Third Doctor (Reply #7)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 03:33 AM

9. Tavis doesn't...

He is an oppurtunist. He couldn't wait to go talk to Joe Scarborough the day before the election saying how he wouldn't be suprised if black people don't vote. Suggesting it was a good idea, I guess to punish Obama. Telling Joe that we(AA) were mad at Obama, etc. He was completely wrong about us ofcourse. They loved him on Morning Joe that day, they could have cared less about poverty. They had a token black person attacking the president for them.

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Response to satxdem (Reply #9)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 09:15 AM

25. You may say many things about Tavis, but token isn't one of them

He doesn't kiss white ass or black ass. He's mostly wrong, but he's a truthful man when it comes to his beliefs.

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Response to lunatica (Reply #25)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 09:18 AM

26. I'll say he is a token,

He most certainly does kiss white ass.

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Response to satxdem (Reply #26)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 09:30 AM

28. He does not curry favor with them

or anyone for that matter. He says the same thing to black audiences. I believe he stands by his principles even if I disagree with his principles.

Maybe that says 'token' to you, but to me it doesn't. Token is someone who pretends to represent his race or gender but is allowing themselves to be used by the opposition. How is Tavis doing that?

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Response to lunatica (Reply #28)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 09:45 AM

30. lol.

You may think that, but he doesn't say the same things. Shouldn't the people of said person's race determine whether they are a token or not? The way he talks about Obama like a dog and then goes to Joe scarborough or any white man that could give 2 shits about black people calling them his brother and smiling and laughing. Does the media ever talk about poverty, no, because they don't care about black poverty. They just love to see Cornell and Tavis trash Obama. And those tokens will for sure do it.

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Response to lunatica (Reply #28)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 09:49 AM

31. let's agree to disagree

I say he's a token and you say he is not. I won't change your mind and you won't change mine.

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Response to satxdem (Reply #31)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 10:09 AM

32. Wouldn't want to change your beautiful mind

Sorry I engaged.

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Response to Third Doctor (Reply #7)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 11:49 AM

35. I had that feeling with both of them.

Tavis Smiley was a bit too slick and not half as critical of Duhbya as I'd expected him to be when I watched him, and Prof. West is a bit over-the-top and totally unfair toward President Obama.

Both are exceptionally intelligent, which is why it's such a grave disappointment that they are so unfairly critical of President Obama. Surely they know he's just the president, not the entire congress as well? Surely they've seen what an obstructionist Congress President Obama had to deal with? Why are they blaming President Obama for the actions of an unprecedented obstructionist Republican congress? And yes, although Democrats have a slim majority in the Senate, the filibuster gives the power to the Republicans and they weren't the least bit shy to use it.

President Obama has done plenty for the African-American community, although this was done via policies that help the poor. The PPACA is just one, but it's one of the largest policies that is already benefiting all poor people and their children. They couldn't even give him credit for that and until they do, their rep for standing for the poor in this country is lacking.

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Response to egbertowillies (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 06:42 AM

10. they have a program on chicago`s progressive station

they have a sunday afternoon show. i have`t heard it yet but i`m making sure i tune in tomorrow.

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Response to egbertowillies (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 07:30 AM

12. People like West and Smiley are frustrating, but it could be worse

Each side has its extremists who won't be satisfied with anything that can be realistically accomplished. On our side of the great divide, our extremists' stated aspirations are a lot more laudable than on the right so there's that. More importantly, we haven't let our extremists drive the train, which is why we have a President Obama and a Senate majority.

Then there's what is simply the less attractive possibility, which is that having an African American president is a huge milestone. Sure, the fact hasn't ended racism, but has in fact stoked it. But then so has every other advance made in the area of civil rights in this country, both political and social. Comes with the territory. It's still major. It's still huge. It's still something that didn't seem possible to most of us, even on the left, until Iowa showed us the way in '08. A thing like that make West and Smiley less relevant, or at least they need to work harder to make sense. They need to talk specific policy. In order to have a real contribution to make, they need to get wonky, which just doesn't have that pop culture appeal. Or, they can get exposure attacking the president. It's so much easier to get attention that way.

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Response to egbertowillies (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 07:37 AM

13. Why is critique of Barack Obama the equivalent of being a sell out?

I have watched the screeds written about Tavis Smiley go from: we're all in this together, support the brother Obama to Smiley is a no count grifter who isn't even a child of g-d.

If the criticism stuck to factually based behavior and a lifetime depravity I could understand it, but it boils down to Smiley and now West have not struggled enough for AAs to 'trust' their 'new' concern about poor people.

Really?

If Smiley's career and Summit didn't exist years before Obama emerged on the national scene, the criticism might bear some relationship to the reality.

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Response to genna (Reply #13)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 09:30 AM

29. perhaps

Because when we see them they are attacking Obama's blackness or lack there of. We are all for talking about poverty but to act like we have only had it under Obama is completely ridiculous. This is the nature of a free market economy, it has been an issue. They should take the proceeds from their books and use it to fight poverty. . Their long careers of getting rich? Oh. To act like Obama doesn't care about black people when he was working for fair treatment for them on the southside is crazy, he was on the ground, he was fighting for them.

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Response to egbertowillies (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 09:04 AM

23. Don't necessarily agree with the two of them traveling on a circuit...

but it at least causes one to stop and question if government is doing enough for the poor and minorities.

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Response to egbertowillies (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 09:11 AM

24. I think theres a place in our Democracy for people like Tavis and West

I'm always willing to give them a listen, because they do make a point. I don't agree with them because I believe in considering the nuances and layered history of every situation, but that means I don't agree with most people who refuse to see the big picture.

I always wanted to be a Diplomat deep down. I'm sure that would make a lot of people here laugh. But it's twooo! It's twoo!

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Response to egbertowillies (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 09:21 AM

27. I absolutely agree with "shut the fuck up until after the election". Nt.

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Response to egbertowillies (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 11:02 AM

33. Selfish Men getting paid to talk trash.

 

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Response to egbertowillies (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 12:53 PM

41. Here's what they don't get, imo

First of all, Smiley and West's antagonism towards Obama predates his presidency, and even his nomination as the candidate. Very early on in the primaries, before it became an extended Clinton-Obama contest even, I was driving along in the car and listening to Smiley's Sunday NPR show. With West as his sidekick, I was shocked to hear them discussing how Obama was "not really a brother." They focused on his white mother and grandparents and were, well, frankly a little racist in their comments. It was crazy bitter, and the antagonism was being laid on thicker than peanut butter. So it's never surprised me that they have been critical of the president.

What they do not get is how hard Obama has worked to help poor communities under the radar: through the stimulus bill and much legislation that has in it hidden but definitive benefits to the poorest Americans: an expansion of the SNAP and CHIPS programs and repeated extensions of unemployment insurance; investments in Head Start and Early Head Start, and child care assistance; childhood nutrition programs; a focus on the lowest performing schools; a huge expansion of the Pell Grant program; etc.

What they do not get is that Democrats don't get elected by overtly focusing on the idea of poverty. Really. People don't like to identify as a member of the party of the poor; they don't like to think their hard-earned dollars are being given to "those people." It's sad but true. But while you never heard Obama talking about "the poor"—it was always "the middle class and those struggling to get into the middle class—many of his policies have been aimed specifically at trying to get things done for that segment of the population, without pushing political hot buttons that would undermine the passage of such legislation. It's been a rather stealth program aimed at poverty reduction. That has been his interest since he came to Chicago to work among its poorest constituents as a community organizer, and I believe it remains his commitment, even as he is duty-bound to serve as president of all the people, rich and poor, black and white.



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Response to frazzled (Reply #41)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 11:45 PM

44. You are amazing.

This is exactly what I try to explain to people. Thank you for saying it better.

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Response to frazzled (Reply #41)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 06:40 PM

49. *jaw drop*

that...was...incredible. Thank you for this. You said everything I always wanted to say but never knew how.

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Response to frazzled (Reply #41)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 11:35 AM

55. Your comment opens a whole 'nother discussion (Off topic) ....

... Since POTUS is bi-racial, I don't understand why he identifies/ is identfied as 'black'.
I realize that alot of it goes back to slave days where if one had the slightest % of black heritage in their genes, they were considered 'legally black', but why is that still the case?

I am not trying to pick a fight, I would really like a discussion. This has confused me for a long time.

My daughter is also bi-racial and yet when she refers to herself, she's a black woman, even though, essentially, she looks Greek/Middle Eastern and has no contact with her dad's side of the family (her choice) so has no 'stake' in African-American culture.

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Response to egbertowillies (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 03:18 PM

42. Cornell West is a pretentious dickhead who worships his own god damn mouth.

That is all.

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Response to egbertowillies (Original post)

Sat Nov 24, 2012, 03:33 PM

43. Tavis (corporate sponsored) Smiley and Cornell (Ivory Tower) West both should know better.....

Because they are very intelligent men, which is why their criticisms of our President are fueled by something other than common sense.

I recall when their "noisy" criticism was at its height.....

This article (link below) written at the time provides enough information on the policies put in place by Barack Obama that help the minority community much more than Tavis and West would ever admit....if they simply did the right thing by putting everything in proper context....

http://www.democratsforprogress.com/2011/08/18/dear-rep-barbara-lee-chair-of-the-congressional-black-caucus-can-we-talk/

For those believing that Tavis & West's criticism have merit.....read the linked article, and then think about it.....

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Response to FrenchieCat (Reply #43)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 09:17 AM

51. I heart FrenchieCat

yep - What she said.

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Response to egbertowillies (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 07:29 AM

45. As an AA I have loss all respect for both of these men...

not because they have spoken out against the President, because that is their right as American citizens, but it how they have conducted their business. Many of their attacks are made from places of jealousy and false accusations. I still think that both men are doing this out of a misplaced feeling of being slighted by the President during the early days of his first term...this is too bad because both men had pretty good reputations within the African American community, but now many people feel that they are wrong, and refuse to support their positions. I, for one, feel the same way about these two as I feel about Mr. McCain, they all need to go somewhere and sit the heck down.

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Response to egbertowillies (Original post)

Sun Nov 25, 2012, 02:52 PM

46. No President is above criticism.

And I give Dr. West the benefit of the doubt despite finding some of his views a bit extreme.

Smiley I can't stand. He's an opportunist and I have seen him lie about the President and his positions several times.

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Response to egbertowillies (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 09:18 AM

52. They are veering off into loserhood

But it feels so good in the moment. Children live for the moment.

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Response to egbertowillies (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 10:19 AM

53. "Here is the reality. America was not ready for a black president in 2008 or 2012."

"Here is the reality. America was not ready for a black president in 2008 or 2012."

I don't think America, as much as many of us wanted to believe, would ever be ready until after we had a successful Black president who proved he could govern as a President to all the people. That is what Obama has done, even though some feel he hasn't appropriately represented the AA community. In doing so, one of the most important things he will leave is an open door behind him for future AA and minorities to the Presidency, and to be judged by their performance rather than appearance. A Tavis Smiley or Cornell West type Presidency (as I imagine it) I think would have scared the bejesus out of a good number of the population, even many who believed they were truly racially agnostic. And closed the door for a very long time to any future AA candidates. As much as they try, the right, the haters, the racists, etc can not paint this black President as scary or threatening to any rational person of any demographic group.

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Response to egbertowillies (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 10:49 AM

54. I can sort of see some of Dr. West's points, but Tavis Smiley is just another self-important..

..blowhard, with a mic and an agenda..namely, to get his face on teevee as much as possible...

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